Anti-judiciary remarks: LHC issues notices to PEMRA on petition against Sharifs

Petitioner says TV channel airing Sharif’s, Maryam’s hate speeches should be banned


Rana Yasif March 14, 2018
Nawaz Sharif with his daughter Maryam. PHOTO COURTESY: BBC

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has issued notices to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and others on a petition filed against deposed premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and other ruling party leaders for allegedly targeting the judiciary.

The LHC judge Shahid Karim on Tuesday heard the petition moved by Amna Malik challenging coverage of anti-judiciary speeches of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders.

Advocate Azhar Siddique, the petitioner's counsel, contended that Sharif had been attacking state institutions since his disqualification by the Supreme Court in Panama Papers case. He said his daughter Maryam was also following in his footsteps.

The lawyer said both of them had been running a vilification campaign against the judiciary.  The counsel referred to the ongoing public rallies being addressed by the ousted prime minister and said that he had committed contempt through his speeches and targeted the judges of the superior courts.

The anti-judiciary speeches are live telecast and Pemra which is the relevant authority does not stop any TV channel from airing those remarks. Thus, Pemra has violated the law and is equally responsible for the ongoing vilification campaign, he said.

He said the apex judiciary had jurisdiction over all issues of a judicial nature and exclusive authority to decide whether an issue is political or non-political.  “Pemra failed to implement its code of conduct against airing of hate speeches and stuff containing defamation and contempt,” he added.

Siddiqui requested the court to order the Pemra to ban broadcasting of hate speeches by the respondents as it could lead to anarchy in the country.

“The act of the respondents is not only a contempt of court in view of Article 204 of the Constitution but also sedition,” he said, requesting the court to suspend licenses of television channels for airing hate material, hate speeches and derogatory remarks against the state institutions.

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